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CameraintheWild

QUARTERLY MAGAZINE OF THE CAROLINAS NATURE PHOTOGRAPHERS ASSOCIATION FALL 2012

2013 ANNUAL MEETING


EXCITING MEMBER ARTICLES
Robert Smith

INSIDE:

Website: www.cnpa.org Post offiCe Box 97323 r aleigh, nC 27624-7323


BOARD & STAFF MEMBERS OFFICERS

Carolinas nature PhotograPhers assoCiation

Bill Edmonds

Presidents Letter

Janet Pinkston, Treasurer 704-230-1059 jfpink@hers.com


STAFF & MEMBERS AT LARGE

Bill Edmonds, President 252-809-9067 bephoto@suddenlink.net

Susan Bailey 919-771-1555 sbailey4@nc.rr.com Stephanie Bell 803-546-5550 steffibell@msn.com Suzan Brand 843-881-4795 scbrand@aol.com

n mid-September of this year CNPAs leadership group made history; for the first time ever, we held a meeting with both the board and regional coordinators of CNPA. The meetings agenda was fairly simple: meet for the purpose of collectively harnessing the power and genius of CNPAs entire leadership group. We met on Friday evening and all day Saturday. For everyone involved, it was an intense weekend of networking, learning and planning for CNPAs future direction. One of the objectives of the meeting was to allow attendees an opportunity to develop new internal relationships as well as solidify existing relations with fellow colleagues. That goal was met as everyone attending had multiple opportunities to develop working networks within CNPAs leadership group. This networking will provide CNPAs leaders a path for sharing solutions and successes with fellow members as well as providing a catalyst for suggestions and improvements for both overall and regional growth and development. A second goal of the meeting was to introduce information on the current direction, policy and future growth of CNPAs organization. Again that goal was met as we discussed both issues facing CNPA as a whole and issues affecting local regional areas. Additionally, existing procedures and rules were reviewed for clarity and consistency across the entire region. Lastly, many plans were discussed for CNPAs future growth and direction. While short term plans are in the works, longterm, five-year plans need to be created. As CNPAs five year plan is developed, several methods will be created to allow direct input from all CNPA members to help create long term plans. If everyone is involved in this planning stage each of us will have a better understanding of what the needs of others are within CNPA. When everyone has a common goal we are more likely to succeed.

Tharp

Richard Harkawik, Website Coord 843-236-2605 harkrf@gmail.com David Hartfield 803-233-7975 David@DavidHartfield.net

Bruce Dickson 919-656-7560 bruce@dicksonimages.com

Donald E. Brown debrown@msn.com 704-845-5341

BRYAN PETERSON & BRENDA THARP

Featuring Widely Acclaimed Presenters

CNPA ANNUAL MEETING 2013


Thursday Evening Sunday Noon, February 710, 2013
Embassy Suites Hotel at Kingston Plantation 9800 Queensway Blvd. Myrtle Beach, SC 29572 Room Rate: $114 plus taxes (All suites with ocean view; includes full breakfast) Room Reservations: Phone 1-843-449-0006 Click on hotel link at www.cnpa.org Annual Meeting Registration online at www.cnpa.org or request mail-in forms. Early Bird registration (through December 15): $140 Regular registration (December 16 through January 25): $155 At the door (no registration after January 25): $170. Lunch provided on Friday & Saturday for paid attendees Guests at additional $35/each day.

Edgar Payne, Regions Chair 412-720-1702 epayne3804@aol.com Bob Williams, Publications 803-786-7022 bobwilliams@sc.rr.com

Jim Zieger, Membership Chair 919-844-0457 jzieger@nc.rr.com Don & Joanne Wuori Friends of the Board

Lunch Provided Friday & Saturday Exciting Tradeshow Discounts Door Prizes Buy & Sell Swap Tables
Camera in the Wild Fall 2012 1

Brenda Tharp

Brenda has spent the past 30 years living her dream as a professional photographer. She has done assignments for a variety of magazines over the years, including Outdoor Photographer, Sunset, Sierra, Travel-Holiday, Northwest Traveler and a host of others. She has contributed to books by National Geographic, Michelin Travel Publications, and photographed several books for the National Park Service. She wrote and photographed Creative Nature and Outdoor Photography in 2003, and released a revised edition of that same book in 2010. Her newest book, Extraordinary Everyday Photography, released in August 2012, was co-produced with her partner Jed Manwaring. Brenda has spoken to thousands of people in audiences across the country, sharing her insights and experiences in photography. She is a highly regarded workshop instructor and her passion for photography and the world around her is strongly expressed in her talks and classes.

Bryan has enjoyed a successful career as a commercial photographer for over 35 years. His clients include American Express, Kodak, UPS, Phillips and Citibank among others. In addition he has received awards from the Communication Arts Photography Annual seven times, Print magazine four times and has also won the prestigious New York Art Directors Gold Award. He has been a contributing editor at Popular Photography and Outdoor Photographer magazine and has been teaching photography for over 20 years. In addition, he is the founder of the Perfect Picture School of Photography, www.ppsop.com. His largest audience knows him as the photographer/writer of seven best-selling photography books, Understanding Exposure, Understanding Shutter Speed, Understanding Closeup Photography, Understanding Electronic Flash, Learning to See Creatively, Beyond Portraiture and Bryan Petersons Field Guide to Understanding Photography as well as his YOU KEEP SHOOTING videos which are seen at Adorama.

Bryan Peterson

Annual Meeting Presentations


The Expressive Nature Image Extraordinary Everyday Photography

Annual Meeting Presentations


Mother Natures Intent: Principles of Designing a Photograph Flashes of Inspiration: Creative Use of Ambient & Artificial Light Mining Images: Finding Gold Amongst the Mundane

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Camera in the Wild Fall 2012 3

STEPS:
BECOMING RHYTHMS Steps Three & Four

Don McGowan
don@earthsongphotography.com

ometimes we have to be reminded that the heart with which we see is only a metaphorical one; but we can also recall that in metaphor the transference from ordinary designation to implied designation is real in just the same way that a perceived reality is as real as an actual reality. As the Proverb declares, As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is. We have been talking over the past couple of issues about the steps of mental, physical, and even spiritual connection that I have come to associate with making an image. In this article well continue with Steps 3 and 4.

I realized that the elements do not exist in a vacuum, that I must let them be, or do, something. Over time this being and doing sorted themselves out to become the principles of graphic design; and as I continue on my photographic journey, I continue to add new principles to the list. But when all is said, there are seven of them that seem to recur: balance, relationship, rhythm, contrast, motion/flow, unity/cohesiveness, and simplicity. These seven describe how the elements of an image fit, work, or move together. Every image is comprised of one, or sometimes more, primary elements, which exist with respect to each other, to secondary elements, and/or to the frame itself, according to at least one, but sometimes more than one, of the principles. That they so exist is my job as an artist to understand, to determine, to reveal, and to express. The process of revealing, from a compositional point of view, must take into account certain considerations. These have to do with the optimum angle of view, background coverage, subject size, perspective, and depth-of-field; and all of them, you will note, have something to do with my choice of my primary tool in this regard the lens I will use, and most specifically the focal length of that lens. A detailed discussion of them is more appropriate to a conversation on lenses, on how lenses see, and on learning to see like a lens in other words, a conversation on optics. What is

3. What are the primary elements of graphic design that are stimulating your visual interest: Are they lines, shapes, forms, patterns, textures, or colors, or a combination of more than one? 4. Determine the best focal length lens to use to achieve optimum angle of view, background coverage, subject size, perspective, and depth of field.
My heart has been turned on; otherwise I would not be here, although if heart stays on, then there are images everywhere. Maybe thats another story. Anyway, my heart is engaged, and I have determined that the visual conditions are suitable the light and the something that has attracted me. These are the initial heart considerations that go into the image. Now its time to begin thoughts that are more mechanical. I want to identify the something in terms of its being a design element. Many years ago I considered this something only as some material phenomenaa tree, a river, a rock. Now I understand better that the material world can be reduced to discrete categories and everything in that world can be identified as being in one or another of those groupings. These are the elements of graphic design: line, shape, form, pattern, texture, and color. I say this in every workshop, and I will say it here: The day I stopped seeing the world in terms of physical phenomena and began to see it in terms of the elements of design was the day my image creation took a quantum leap forward. The next quantum leap forward for me came when
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important here is that you have a basic understanding of these concepts and how they work in your creative process. Not long ago I stood on the rim of Bull Valley Gorge, an awesomely beautiful slot canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Looking at my feet I saw the remnants of an old pion limb lying on the broken scree. My first thought was that it looked like a pistol-totin, bow-legged cowboy from a 50s western. I had to decide how much of the rock litter to include with my cowboy. This would determine my angle of view in the image, top to bottom, as well as side to side. I knew I wanted my subject, the cowboy, to be as large as possible in the frame, without the frame truncating any of the bits of limb. So I chose a focal length that would allow me to enlarge the sections of pion limb as much as I could without chopping off any. I was limited in my choices of background coverage and depth-of-field since my subject and the background were essentially one and the same; and it would be nearly impossible to have one in focus without the other (depth-of-field being that portion of the image from front to back that appears to be in relative sharp focus). This was okay, since I did not find the rock clutter to be a distraction to viewing the cowboy, but rather a supporting element. For a perspective I wanted to be as straight on as possible and close enough to the subject so that the focal length I chose would give me the magnification and background coverage I wanted, in other words I wanted my element position, its size, and the space between it and the other (supporting) elements to achieve a certain state of relational being. Once I had thought through these considerations it was a simple matter of choosing a lens with the focal length range I imagined would give me the result I wanted. In this case my Nikon 80-200mm, f/2.8 telephoto zoom. Every image you create will involve this same process of deciding what the elements are in your visual field that have attracted you, what are the principles at work in the context of those elements, how you wish to present them, and the choice of tools that will allow you to accomplish your goal. In any given composition, one or another of these considerations will carry more weight than the others, and you may sometimes have to choose to accomplish one result while compromising on another. Such is the nature of the creative process in photography: to gain something, sometimes you must give up something. Once you have played with the process enough, have seen it in practice in your work, and have integrated it so that it operates without conscious effort, the process itself becomes part of your creativity; it flows like a stream of subconscious awareness, like a background rhythm, so that in your being present to what is around you, your connection with the material world becomes an act of creation.
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The Myth of Manual?


S
everal weekends ago, Kathy and I were having an interesting discussion about why someone should or should not shoot in Program or Auto mode on their camera instead of using one of the serious modes such as Manual, Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority, and what might be right or wrong with that. I dont think there is anything wrong with that, actually. Kathy knows more about the workings of a camera than a lot of people I know who have spent much more time in photography. But she also knows that trying to remember all those things can sometimes take the fun out of just going out and making photographs. So she asked me, and we talked about, whats wrong with just shooting JPEGs in Program Mode? Whats wrong, indeed? Kathy and I were talking more in terms of the camera, in many cases, being smarter than we are. And to a certain extent, she makes a very, very good point. My very first SLR was a Konica TC that I bought back in the late 70s, and while it had a meter, it was Manual everything, so when I set the aperture, a little needle would tell me whether my shutter speed was high or low, so I adjusted until I had it where I wanted it. And I learned about things like exposure compensation the hard way, after I got the film back and tried to remember what I did! But because I first learned photography with a camera that only had manual controls, its pretty easy for me to think in terms of aperture or shutter speed on the fly I have Program Mode in my head! I put the Konica away sometime in the 80s then shot for years with a number of different point-and-shoot cameras while the kids were growing up. This worked fine until I decided to get back into photography more seriously and bought a Nikon N70 around 2000. It had auto-focus and auto-metering! But I mostly shot it in Manual and Aperture Priority because thats what I was used to. I would venture to guess that most people buying that camera, however, probably shot it in Auto mode. Shortly after buying the Nikon, someone suggested that I needed to buy a medium format camera, so I went out and bought a Mamiya 7 rangefinder and a 65mm lens. Soon
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Tom Dills tomdills@earthlink.net

after I added a 50mm lens and a 150mm lens. That camera was manual everything with a funky little meter that, once you learned how to use it, worked pretty well. Again, I was perfectly comfortable with the manual exposure controls and manual focus, because that is how I learned. I eventually ended up trading all that Mamiya film stuff in toward a Canon 5D. And Ive wished for that Mamiya 7 back until recently, when I got my 5D Mark III. That is the first camera I can say is better than the Mamiya 7, but thats a story for another post. In a recent post on his blog, my friend Paul Lester talks more about how people are perfectly satisfied with photos they are taking with their phones. No controls, no exposure compensation, no thought, just point and shoot. Paul recently met and talked with photographer and teacher Ibarionex Perello who told him that he no longer teaches aperture in his classes, because no one wants to know about it. Students cant be bothered learning about depth of field or the effect of aperture on shutter speed. They just want to take pictures. Im sure some of them will eventually drift into the World of Manual as they explore various creative options, but most of these students will be perfectly happy using their cameras in Program mode, and if they want to get creative with their photos, they can always do that later with software. Along this line, some of the commentary surrounding the recent Canon EOS-M camera has fascinated me. Like the Nikon mirrorless cameras, they are designed to shoot primarily in Program or one of the various custom or scene modes. While they do have the ability to shoot in a manual or semi-auto mode, those controls are menu-based instead of accessed simply by turning a dial or two. This has fostered some real debate. Hardly anyone has actually touched one of these cameras yet, let alone shot a few photos with one, but immediately the analysis and commentary began. People started using words like (and you can find them easily) crippled, mundane, run-of-the-mill, off-the-shelf-with-spare-parts, uninspired, No EFing Viewfinder!!! Well that is a deal-breaker for me. Every camera that is introduced inspires its share of forum jockeys who are too busy making excuses about every camera that comes out that they never get around to actually taking photographs. Give me a break!

Do you honestly think that a company with the research and marketing budget that Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, Sony and others have is going to bring out a brand-new camera that is such an immediate failure that no one will want it? Probably not. Its just that so many of these photographer wannabes think that no one else in the world could possibly want to shoot in Program Mode. In truth, I think these cameras are aimed squarely at a very clearly-defined market. It just aint us, sorry. Canon will probably sell millions of those cameras. And that will fund the next 5D megacamera that Ill want! There is absolutely no reason that a person with a basic level of interest in photography has to shoot in anything but Program to be serious about their photography. Granted, for a lot of us more serious folks, the ability to control exposure and depth of field is critical. But we often forget how long it took us to get to the point where we were comfortable with manual controls. I shot in Manual for years before I really learned how to control background blur or balance exposure between a bright sky and a dark foreground. But today, some cameras can figure that out for you, and for all the money we pay for our equipment, we might do well to just allow it! So anyway, someone who is starting out and just wants to let their camera take pictures will do perfectly well over 98% of the time. And if they shoot JPEGs and learn how to properly expose their shots they wont need to work on their photos in software. What a deal! I know a number of successful commercial photographers who shoot everything in JPEG and beat the snot out of a lot of people who shoot RAW. Granted, they are probably using manual controls and are sometimes using studio lighting, but if you know what you are doing, its no different than shooting slide film. Remember that? In many ways, photography is like riding a bike. We dont start off riding the fanciest machine that a Tour de France participant would ride. As kids we start off with a singlespeed bike with training wheels. As adults getting back into cycling we might dust off the old 10-speed and ride it around for a while. Eventually we will decide that we could be more comfortable, ride faster or generally be happier with something newer, lighter or more advanced. If we get really serious we buy the shoes, the jersey and the spandex shorts so we really look the part. The same holds true for photography. Those starting out will use their phones, their point & shoot cameras or their SLRs all in P mode. And for most people thats as far as theyre going to get. A few of them will start experimenting with things like depth of field and shutter speed and realize that the camera they are using might not suit their needs. At that point they might move up to something with more manual controls, or they might just make do with the camera they have. Kathy understands a lot of the mechanics of photography, but wants to spend more of her time looking at the scene in front of her and pondering composition and expression and
Camera in the Wild Fall 2012 7

less of it on figuring out the right f-stop. And I support that. If she gets turned off now by all of the technical stuff and gives up the camera entirely, than how is that success? If she can enjoy what she is doing now, and later gets to the point where she wants to do more with the controls, I think that is perfectly fine. And if she never moves beyond the P setting

but enjoys her photos, that is perfectly fine and I support it! There are many ways to do this photography thing, and very few of them are wrong!

use and enjoy the results of creatively-made images; rather than bemoan the poor images as you remember, after-thefact, what you should have done. By using the functions built into your camera, you can free your brain to carefully examine each opportunity and get the most creative images from each situation. Do not feel guilty about using Auto mode even though the experts will rarely recommend it. Your camera is so smart that it usually makes the right decisions in Auto mode. It chooses ISO, white balance, shutter speed, f-stop, and more. When you advance your skills point that you need more creative control than Auto allows, read your manual and learn the advanced techniques one at a time. Spend most of your time concentrating on composition, lighting and creative imagery trying to elicit the Wow response from your viewers. Study each image carefully in the viewfinder and ask yourself, Why am I making this image? Be sure everything in the viewfinder complements the central idea that you are trying to present and that there are no distracting elements lurking at the edges or in the background. Continue to read and learn from the experts who are so generous in sharing their ideas and techniques; just use caution when the information is geared more toward the advanced skills of a full-time professional. Learn to adapt their ideas to your level. Consider golf, for example: almost no two swings look alike, and the golfers are judged by their scores, not their swings. Photographic success depends on the outcome, not the process. Photographers are recognized by their images, not their technique. Simplify your process and concentrate on making beautiful and powerful art and enjoy what you are doing. Find the set of creative tools that work best for you and continue to refine these tools. Dont change your approach with each new expert you read. About the Author CJ Andretta trained as a photographer in the US Navy and spent his military tour photographing missile tests. Upon his discharge he worked as a studio photographer and then hired on as a photographer to a major US Corporation. His photos were used for in-company publications and recognition events. After working 10 years as a photographer, he made a career change to computer programming but always stayed close to his love of photography by active participation in camera clubs. His most recent photography documents the travel that he and his wife enjoy.

How to Read the Experts


By CJ Andretta cj5004@bellsouth.net
s an amateur or weekend photographer, do you have trouble reading your favorite photo magazine and understanding how to apply the often lofty techniques? Do you sense conflicting techniques when reading different authorsor sometimes from the same author on different occasions? Does the material presented jibe with your selftaught ideas? Maybe I can help dispel some of the confusion and offer a few suggestions for sorting out useful information from the extraneous. I spent ten years working as a photographer before a career change took me into computers. When I was photographing full-time, my photographic senses were light years ahead of where they are now as a weekend photographer. Calculations that were automatic now require serious thought. Camera techniques that became a sixth sense now require deliberate consideration. Even the once-creative compositions and color harmonies now require attention at a level I never before considered. Do you think full-time photographers understand our level of comprehension? I think not. The writers are explaining ideas and techniques at the level they understand, but many of us weekend photographers cannot comprehend at the writers advanced level of thinking.
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Who said, We have a failure to communicate?

Well, what do we do? Simplify, simplify, simplify!

Learn our cameras completely and enjoy the level of sophistication that todays electronic marvels provide. When I was a working photographer I always had the latest handheld light meters and I was very proficient with them. Even at the peak of my skills I could not meter as accurately or as quickly as todays in-camera metering systems. I do however read an occasional article extolling the use of full-manual mode which does not work well for me as a weekend photographer. The author isnt trying to obfuscate, he is just explaining what works for him as a full-time photographer with highly developed photographic skills. There is nothing wrong with experimenting with all the advanced techniques covered in photo magazines, but dont think every new idea you read about has to be used for you to be a successful photographer. Decide in advance how to respond to given situations: When should you use aperture priority? When is spot metering best? Does the situation call for exposure compensation? Should you be using flash fill? If you understand the benefits of the tools provided by your camera you can maximize its

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The Ultimate Garden


Deborah Bender
bender.deborah@gmail.com
Protea Flowering
Kirstenbosch is no ordinary garden. Dramatically set against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain in South Africas Cape Town, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, the first garden in the world to be included on this list of preservation sites. The gardens cover an area of about 1,300 acres of gardens, natural habitats, lawns, paths, and rocky slopes. The latter adds to the striking appearance of the gardens, but also offer the possibility of a vigorous half-day hike. Along the paths circling the expanse are gardens walls and benches for visitors to sit and contemplate the view sweeping from mountains tabletop to the low growing native fynbos. The natural vegetation and cultivated gardens also attract a variety of birds, butterflies and insects. The land was once a part of the vast estate of Cecil John Rhodes who purchased it in 1895. According to his wishes, after his death in 2002, the land was donated to the Nation. Today, Kirstenbosch is the largest of a countrywide network of nine National Botanical Gardens administered by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).

Protea Bloom

The Protea, the star attraction of the Kirstenbosch Garden, is no ordinary flower. In South Africa, Proteas grow in a variety of shapes and sizes as well as many shades of pink, orange, red and yellow. The King Protea, the largest and most dramatic of the species, may stretch almost 10 inches in diameter from petal tip to petal tip when fully open. South Africa has also chosen the King Protea as its national flower. On Sunday evenings during the November to April summer months, the Gardens host musical sunset concerts. Bring a blanket, a bottle of wine and some friends and enjoy the awesome outdoor acoustical theatre. As trade with South Africa increases, the King Protea now is occasionally imported into the United States. In fact, a dozen or so of these strikingly unusual flowers were on display at one Whole Foods Grocery in North Carolina just several weeks ago. Still, these floral royalties are in their glory at the Kirstenbosch Gardens. They are definitely a must-see when you plan a visit to Cape Town.

Protea Bud

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INTRIGUING HUMMINGBIRDS!
Lamont Giddens
CGidd47965@aol.com

can get. A shutter speed around 1/200 will work nicely. If you want to stop their wings, then you will have to go 1/1000th or less. But, remember the speed will cost you depth of field. I want to get an f-stop around f/8 or so. That means raising the ISO to get there if need be. If you dont need to crop much, then ISO wont reduce the quality appreciably. Also, use multiple shot sequences if your camera is so equipped. When the hummingbirds start feeding, you will notice that they want to perch while feeding. Often they will perch on the backside of the feeder away from you. To prevent this, use scotch tape to cover all but the feeding hole you want them to use. I dont care for shots with them perched on the feeder, so I use a trick to spook them just enough to hover six inches away. I make a light scratching noise on my blind. At first, they may fly away, but they will soon learn to ignore it. With them hovering six feet in front of you, you can quickly focus and fire off three or more shots. If you are lucky, 1 out of 10 shots will be a dazzlingly sharp, golden glittering fairy frozen in time for you to enjoy. Well, there Ive said it. Wish I knew more to tell you but Ive got lots more to learn myself. Have a happy time sniper hunting for hummingbirds.

The butterflies, bumblebees, and hummingbirds will all be flittering around on a bright sunny day. This is called observing nature. It is the most fun part and one of the most important. You will soon see patterns in how the hummingbirds feed. This knowledge will help you determine where to locate your ground blind. A small pop up ground blind has worked well enough for me. You can get them at most sporting goods stores or on-line. Pick one that has enough room for a comfortable chair and your tripod. It must be well ventilated as well. My experience has shown that using a face mask and gloves can be important too. Hummingbirds will definitely be trying to see you inside your blind. Your bright face and hands are often a dead giveaway that will spook the birds. Sometimes it is just too hot to wear much and so you take your chances. Normally you will want to position your blind near one of the feeders. Pay attention to the sun. You want the sun to light the birds from the front for the best photography. This may mean moving your blind from a morning location to a different afternoon location. Also having a branched tree or bush nearby will allow you to take some nice perching shots. Now set up your camera. Forget the golden evening light, you will need the brightest sunlight you

ts August. Sitting very still, sweat dripped down the back of my neck. The humidity was stiflingly high. Daylight shot through a small opening, just inches from my face. The dark sides of my camouflage enclosure kept any stirring air from cooling me. My senses were keenly anticipating the slightest sound or movement. Then there was a high pitched twitter, followed by a whirring noise. I readied my telescopic lens for the shot. No sniper crosshairs here. This is not Afghanistan. This is the world of bird photography; at least mine. Birds are marvelous creatures. For me, the hummingbird is the most intriguing of them all. They are mystical, golden glittering fairies. We see them zipping and flashing around our feeders. But a tiny shape is all we see. I wanted to fill my camera frame with that bird. I wanted to really see a hummingbird, eye pupils, tiny feathers, foot claws, everything. My first attempts at photographing them were not very successful. But over time I learned some things. That is what I want to share with you. This is meant to consolidate information primarily for beginning nature photographers. There are better and cleverer ways to photograph these birds than my way. But this is what has worked for me with my own particular limitations.
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Speaking of limitations, Im old. Newly retired three years ago and living near Ridgeville, South Carolina. Photography can put a crunch on a fixed income. Finding used equipment, I ended up with a Nikon D300 and a fixed 300mm/f4 lens. I would love to have better but this setup has been pretty good to me. The 300mm is probably the least you can get by with to get really close bird shots. Even so, I am generally six feet from the birds in order to fill the frame. Oh yeah, get a tripod. You can read a ton of stuff about how to attract hummingbirds and it is all pretty good. Of course, the primary part is the feeder. The more feeders the more birds in general, although, two or three should be quite enough. It is very important to clean them once a month and refill with fresh sugar water. My recipe is 1 part sugar with 4 parts water. Forget the dye. You dont need it and no one is sure how it affects the birds. Then there should be flowers, lots of flowers. The deep throated, red flowers seem to be the absolute best for hummingbirds. Butterfly bushes are my favorite, as they grow fast and are large enough for the hummingbirds to hide. Now that you have your feeders hanging near your beautiful flowering garden area, it is time to get your mint julep and have a seat in the shade. Hummingbirds are most active in July and August so you will definitely need the shade.

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You Never Know!


Everette Robinson
erobinsonphoto@charter.net
The prospect was exciting photographing the Linville Gorge in all its magnificent beauty in the glorious light of the new rising sun. The CNPA outing was being led by Linda Deaton, a photographer whose talent is matched in equal measure by her passion. Needless to say, I signed up for the outing as soon as it was announced. Flash forward to the week before the trip. As is common in the mountains of western North Carolina, every day the forecast changed for the worse. Two days before the scheduled date the report for the area was rain and clouds, clearing out between 12 and 1 in the afternoon not exactly a great report for a sunrise shoot. I called Linda that night to check on the status of the outing. Half had cancelled, some like myself were tentative, but the trip was still on. Sunday morning came and I looked out my door. Cloudy, terribly cloudy, but only the faintest of drizzles. In the mountains the 50-mile drive could mean better weather or worse. I was upI had to try. On the way there I drove through a couple of downpours. Not looking good, I thought.
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The rain slowed me down and I got to the meeting point almost 10 minutes late. The group was pulling out, having figured me a no-show. I said a few quick hellos and we were off. The trailhead at Wisemans View was very cloudy, but there was no rain. The gloomy forecast and weather had reduced our group to a measly five, but we donned our gear and headed down the path to adventure. We reached the viewpoints area that contains some of the finest vistas North Carolina has to offer. No grand views nowonly an overcast sky with hanging dark gray clouds. Sunrise time came and went, and the thick clouds lingered. It seemed our trip was going to be a bust. About twenty minutes after sunrise the clouds began to dissipate. Beams of light broke through, hitting bits and pieces of the gorge below. All of a sudden it was magic time, and the cameras began clicking away. The autumn foliage on the gorge floor was peaking a golden yellow with intermittent reds that the shards of light were transforming into an ethereal show. The highlights were dancing around the gorge, literally changing by the second.

In another 20 minutes the clouds broke, the light got harsh, and the amazing show was over. But in that time I had over a hundred photos, and most of them were keepers. It had been one of the greatest photographic mornings I had ever experienced. I cringe when I think of how close I had come to cancelling out, letting the elements dissuade me. The moral of the story: Next time that morning shoot seems too early or too cold or too drizzly or too far away, just remember that timeless saying You never know!

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A Jewel in the Woods: The North Carolina Arboretum Asheville, North Carolina
Barbara J. Sammons

I have no agenda as I pack my camera gear and stroll through the gardens. Its the unknown that intrigues me as I walk through the Arboretums Production Greenhouse, the Bonsai Exhibition Garden or the Plants of Promise Garden. My favorite time to photograph is early morning or after a light rain shower when the dew drops dance on the flower petals and leaf veins. I leave the mid-day sun to venture indoors to wander through the two exhibit galleries. The Baker Exhibit Center provides interactive, enriching exhibits for all ages and interests while the Education Center displays exhibits by regional artists and crafts folk that highlight the regions rich cultural heritage and crafts industry. As I walk through the gardens and on the trails, my eyes are forever roaming to capture that turned-back leaf, the dogtooth violet as it peaks its head above the forest floor, the brilliant yellow of the Tulip Poplar in the fall or even the stone out-cropping that is home to cinnamon stick ferns. The seasonal changes and unexpected magic that I discover on each visit bring me back to the Arboretum again and again. The North Carolina Arboretum is located at 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, North Carolina 28806. For more information, call 828-665-2492 or visit www.ncarboretum.org

barbara@barbarasammons.com

rom the sweet aroma of the native azaleas in May and the wildflowers that bloom in the spring, to the ever-changing Quilt Garden and to the color explosion of reds, yellows and oranges in the fall, photographers and visitors will find stunning natural, seasonal beauty on display at The North Carolina Arboretum, Ashevilles Jewel in the Woods. Just 10 minutes south of downtown Asheville, the Arboretum is nestled on 434 acres within the 6,300 acre Bent Creek Experimental Forest of the Pisgah National Forest in one of the most botanically diverse and beautiful natural settings in America. The Arboretum offers more than 65 acres of cultivated gardens including one of the finest, most unique bonsai collections in the United States. It also features hiking and biking trails, indoor and outdoor exhibits, shows and expos, educational programs, demonstrations and lectures for all ages, including guided trail walks. The Arboretum also serves as a statewide and national resource for horticultural education, economic development, research, conservation and garden demonstrations. Last year, the Arboretum welcomed more than 375,000 visitors. As a nature photographer, artist and backyard gardener, The North Carolina Arboretum has been my palette for several years, whether it be spring, summer, winter or fall. Every week a new flower emerges, leaves change colors, vines wind their delicate tendrils around the gates, all just waiting for their day to be captured through a lens. One of my favorite spots at the Arboretum is the Plants of Promise Garden, with its scents wafting from a variety of blooms set in a fluid landscape design. This -acre garden at woods edge features promising landscape plants appropriate for the Southern Appalachian region. The core gardens at the Arboretum include the Heritage Garden, the Quilt Garden and the Stream Garden. The Heritage Garden is home to plants used for traditional crafts including dye making, basket making, hand papermaking and broom making. The plants are also used in Arboretum classes and workshops. The Quilt Garden is a floral representation of a traditional quilt pattern; the design changes every two years. The Stream Garden, planted primarily with native plants, represents a Western North Carolina mountain stream and the plant communities that thrive near stream sites.

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Camera in the Wild Fall 2012 17

Discovering Macro Photography

Jay Wickens

jay@jaywickens.com

ne of the greatest and fulfilling rewards of shooting nature photography, be it wildlife, landscapes, flowers, birds or any other of its many aspects, is personally being in the moment of life itself. From its creation at birth through its seasonal changes and into its waning decay, we as nature photographers have a front seat view with the ability to capture its raw infancy, its splendid qualities of color and texture, its fluid movements in relation to its surroundings, as well as its struggles to maintain its very existence in the allotted time it has. I dare say no other hobby or profession is in the same realm as we find ourselves. My personal passion with photography has evolved though out the years, capturing so many different aspects of this life from photojournalism, shooting family portraits, weddings and other events, different sporting activitieswhatever brought in income. My absolute love keeps me coming back to nature photography. I think a lot if it has to do with being outdoors, breathing that fresh air and feeling all my senses come alive as if I were a kid again climbing trees, running through the mud puddles, skipping rocks, rolling in the cold snow, surfing thundering waves, dreaming of soaring like the raptorsI could go on and on. I think we as nature photographers have all these traits and experiences in common and can relate to what is really just the simplicity of life without boundaries or rules as we also try to flow through our allotted time. Now discovering Macro Photography seems like completing the cycle for me. Even though its nothing new as far as photography goes, I never really gave it its time while grabbing at all the larger sights. I dont mean to say I never looked at it on print or chased lightening bugs in the night, I just didnt feel the need to explore it as a realm of its own and believe me Im finding out it is a realm of its own. I am now hooked and see no end to this photographic style. Be it flowers, insects, water drops, the subjects are endless and abundantly available for the taking. Like all technology, macro equipments sharp glass, extension tubes, magnifiers, lighting equipment, diffusers and reflectors, great cameras with insane ISO capabilities and mega pixels, we have no excuse not to see and capture the world that has existed under our feet for thousands of years. Well, its another day and time never stands still waiting for us to move; grab your cameras, step outside a few feet from your door and discover a realm of life so unique that it has its own name: MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY.

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Camera in the Wild Fall 2012 19

Treasures of the West


by Tina R Schell

spectacular hoodoos and dramatic amphitheater. Because it is smaller than Zion, it feels a bit more approachable you can really get your arms around it as you experience its splendors. Wonderful hikes are available, and some terrific outlooks make it easy for those who prefer to tour by car. Zion, too, was fantastic, but much larger and more spread out. Our Zion experience in Kolob Canyon was enhanced by our knowledge of a backcountry disaster there in 1993 ( www. climb-utah.com/zion/kolob1.htm ). It became more understandable when we experienced the true power of nature one afternoon. After a sudden brief but violent thunderstorm, the sides of one of the giant granite walls literally exploded with a huge, frightening cascade of water which had forced its way through. Imagine having been inside the canyon at that moment! Fortunately, the park rangers had closed off access to the canyons because of storm forecasts that day. My favorite (although its a VERY tough call!) were the redwood forests of California. For me, they were simply magical and gave me a feeling I wont soon forget. The grandeur of these ancient specimens is beyond words and extremely difficult to capture with photography (although I did my best!). National Geographic did a wonderful story on them, in which they stitched together four photographs for a shot of a single tree. Its worth a visit at http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/redwoods/gatefold-image . What no photograph can do though, is give you a sense of the profound silence that permeates the forest, such that visitors if they speak at all do it in a whisper so as not to disturb the peace and stillness that pervades the atmosphere around them. The largest trees are taller than Niagara Falls and weigh up to a million pounds. One that fell in a major storm registered on seismographs 10 miles away where residents thought it was a train wreck. They are wide enough to drive through and have withstood lightning strikes, fires, fierce windstorms and even loggers who tried to destroy them. Although not easily reached, the parks are very much worth whatever effort it takes to get to them. Should you decide to visit, I highly recommend Laurent Martres Photographing the Southwest Southern Utah, which was an invaluable resource for me. His very specific information about the best places for photography in and around the parks was spot on. Also, based on his detailed descriptions, I bit the bullet and purchased a Nikkor 10-24mm wide angle lens which became a critical part of my efforts along with my trusty Gitzo tripod. In the past, Ive focused on wildlife and travel photography primarily, but I must admit Im newly enamored with landscapes after this trip. I was reminded that its always good to refresh yourself with new challenges as I worked to capture the glorious scenery around me. Feel free to email me at trschell@me.com if youd like any additional information. To view more photos visit my blog www.travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com and/or my website www.tinaschell.photoshelter.com. And Happy Travels to all!
Camera in the Wild Fall 2012 21

ince retiring from hyperactive technology jobs in 2001, my husband and I have been doing our best to see the world. Weve traveled all over Europe, done an African safari, snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef and taken a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards of Australia, hiked glaciers in New Zealand, walked the rain forest in Costa Rica, conquered some challenging climbs in Patagonia, cruised Glacier Bay and fly-fished for king salmon from a float plane in Alaska, basked in the sun and seas of Tahiti, and explored much of Southeast Asia including the magnificent ruins of Angkor Wat. We have enjoyed every one of our journeys, which offered us amazing memories and wonderful photographic opportunities. We decided this year it was time to further explore our own country and planned a trip to some of the Western US National Parks. In July we overcame our fear of nearby wildfires and headed to a house wed rented in Utah, arriving just two days after residents were allowed to return home from a mandatory evacuation. Wed flown into Las Vegas, where the daytime temperature upon arrival was 114 degrees (yep, much hotter than South Carolinadry heat or NO dry heat!), and drove the five hours to Utah. Little did we know the only access
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route was directly through Zion, which by the time we got there was completely and utterly dark. There is a nine mile road through the park which is harrowing enough in the daylight, but to do it for the first time in the pitch black of night was high on my list of the most frightening moments of my life. Luckily the air in Utah was far cooler; in fact, we were so high up that we returned one afternoon after a day in the park to find a few patches of snow still on the ground. Our rental was located midway between Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks and was a perfect spot for exploring both. Afterwards, we drove across Utah to California in order to spend some time among the Giant Redwoods. From there we drove south into Oregon where we spent a week in and around Bend, then visited Crater Lake before moving on to Mendocino, and finally ended up in San Francisco where we spent some time with good friends before heading back to South Carolina. It is impossible to describe how magnificent each of these national parks is, although they are completely different from one another. Bryce was my husbands favorite, with its

bob@carolinafootprints.com

Bob Decker

A Ghillie suit consists of a set of clothing that has had fabric strips, strings or yarn attached to soften edges and create a 3-D piece of clothing that will easily blend in with natural foliage. The traditional versions of these suits were made with burlap threads or jute painstakingly tied into netting that had been attached to a utility uniform or coveralls. As this technology gained popularity with hunters and paintball players, affordable commercial suits became readily available. There are two basic types of Ghillie suits available. The design that most of us are familiar with from movies like Sniper or Acts of Valor use string or yarn to give them their unique, bushy appearance. The second type of suit uses long, narrow strips of camouflage material to create loft and simulate foliage. Another variation uses die cut leaf shapes to add a 3-D effect to the camouflage of the suit. This last design can frequently be found in the sporting goods department at your local big-box discount mart. There are also a variety of styles of Ghillie suits available. The sniper suit, the version most of us are familiar with from watching movies, only have Ghillie material attached to the back, and sides. The front of the suit is plain so the user is more comfortable in the prone position and so they can more easily do a belly crawl into position. For sportsmen the most commonly used suit consists of a pair of pants, a jacket and a hood or boonie hat. This type of suit provides concealment whether the user is standing, sitting or lying on the ground. The biggest drawback to this style of suit is that they are a bit difficult to walk in. Additionally, the Ghillie material may tend to snag on twigs and branches along the way. Another version is sapper suit or parka. This style can be described as a long jacket covered with Ghillie material. The jacket usually extends a few inches below the knees and they often include an attached hood. These suits allow more freedom when moving between locations. When purchasing a Ghillie suit for photography one needs to consider the environment in which it will be used. The suits are usually offered in three color variations: WoodlandFarmland, Dessert-Sage-Grassland, and Snow. While color selection may not be overly important for the pursuit of colorblind animals such as deer, it can be critical if one wants to photograph waterfowl or other animals with good color vision. Climate can be another important consideration. The suits that use strips of material tend to be lighter-weight and cooler than those made with string. However the string style suits seem to provide a little better concealment. Many commercially available suits come with a gun wrap. This long strip of material is made to be wrapped around a hunters gun to help it blend into the environment. These wraps can be easily modified to provide some camouflage for long lenses or tripod legs. Simply use the elastic loop on one end and attach an elastic band on the opposite end after cutting the strip to a suitable length.

For the do-it-yourself type, many hunting outfitters offer kits and supplies for making Ghillie suits. While making a suit is somewhat time intensive, it can be a rewarding achievement and may result in a higher quality suit than those commercially available. While most nature photographers will have little need for camouflage, a select, hard-core group is likely to find it indispensable. The quest to photograph skittish predators, gun-shy waterfowl and other elusive species may require concealment that goes beyond that provided by traditional camouflage clothing. The need to hike long distances or penetrate thick brush can make the use of a portable blind unpractical. For these photographers the Ghillie suit can be the perfect choice.

Photographer wearing a woodland string ghillie sitting in a ditch line.

The Ghillie Suit: Ultimate Concealment for Wildlife Photography


or many nature and wildlife photographers, camouflage is unnecessary. These are the folks that spend most of their time taking images of wildlife in locations where the animals are used to seeing humans. Cades Cove, the duck pond at the local park or the backyard bird feeder would be good examples of these types of places. Also included in this group of photographers are those that regularly visit wildlife sanctuaries, zoos and rehabilitation facilities for photographing the animals kept there. But as one ventures into wilder places, seeking to photograph timid, shy and elusive animals, concealment becomes a bigger and bigger necessity. Camouflage clothing uses a pattern of dark, medium and light colors to help to disguise the human silhouette. One disadvantage of this type of concealment is that as you draw closer to it, it becomes less and less effective. For small subjects or in cluttered environments this can be a major disadvantage for photographers. While blinds provide excellent concealment, especially in terms of masking movement, they may need to be in place for days or even weeks before wildlife becomes accustomed to them. Leaving a blind in place isnt always practical. When it comes to camouflage clothing the Ghillie suite offers the ultimate level in concealment and portability. These suits soften hard edges and disguise the human shape
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A Split Screen view of a dessert-grasslands-sage ghillie clad photographer showing normal color vision and red-green colorblindness.

by mimicking natural foliage. There are many accounts of animals coming within arms reach of Ghillie-clad hunters and photographers! The Ghillie suits origins can be traced back to Scottish sheep herders in the late 19th century. The herders developed these suits to allow them to kill predators preying upon their flocks. Game keepers, those tasked with watching over their Lords wildlife, protecting them from poachers and sometimes capturing animals by hand for staged hunts, quickly adapted these unique garments to help them perform their tasks. Eventually the Ghillie suit was adopted for military use by snipers and soldiers tasked with infiltrating enemy lines to collect intelligence. Recently these unique camouflage suits have gained popularity with hunters. They are particularly popular with those that hunt predators such as coyotes, foxes and bobcats. These are animals with a reputation for being skittish and quite adept and avoiding human contact. The suits are also gaining popularity with bowhunters, a group of sportsmen that, like photographers, need to get very close to their quarry in order to ensure success. Even waterfowl hunters are starting to use Ghillie camouflage in their pursuits. Not too surprisingly the Ghillie suit is seeing use by wildlife photographers as well.

A look at a gun wrap ghillie altered for use on a telephoto lens. Below: Comparison of cloth strip and string ghillie construction.

Camera in the Wild Fall 2012 23

The Crown of the Continent


Mary Lou Dickson
marylou@dicksonimages.com

Morning comes late this close to the west side of the Continental Divide. The light of the sun streams through any opening in the magnificent mountain range, flooding the valley with its warm glow. Unfortunately, most of the road is still shrouded in pre-dawn darkness, so driving is treacherous. Suddenly, a large dark shape emerges from the lakeside bush and lumbers across the road in front of us. Its a bear, black by its size and shape, but thats just a guess. We slow to take a closer look, but the phantom is gone, absorbed by the forest. We move on. Soon, the road starts to twist and turn as we climb into the mountains. The higher we climb, the more the eastern side of the mountains comes alive as sunrise illuminates their faces. There are few places in America where you can watch the sunrise unfold multiple times as the sun fights to top the mountain range. Here, in Glacier National Park, the famous Going to the Sun road is one such place. Pasted on the side of the mountains, the road is not for the faint of heart. But the visual rewards are to die for. Well, lets hope not literally. The Going to the Sun road allows visitors to access Glaciers wild interior and connects the east and west sides of the park. Most visitors would agree, no visit is complete without driving at least some of the Going to the Sun road. For those who would prefer to leave the driving to someone else, the National Park Service offers a unique option, the Red Bus. Consisting of a fleet of fully restored 1936 tour buses, the Red Bus can seat up to seventeen people and has a canvas top that can be opened in good weather. Offering a one-of-a-kind experience, the iconic Red Bus is a marvel to watch, navigating this narrow, winding mountain road. They make great photographs too. Glacier National Park offers a wide variety of habitats, from the ancient Cedar-Hemlock rain forests of the west side to the Aspen glades and grasslands of the east side. The

entire park continues to be shaped by glaciers which feed the cool, fast flowing mountain streams and deep glacial lakes. Of course there are numerous waterfalls throughout the park, many within easy walking distance from the main roads or trailheads. In addition, most of the glacier lakes offer scenic boat tours, allowing for a different perspective. Be sure to check with the visitor centers for more information. Glacier also teems with wildlife. From fish to amphibians to birds to mammals, the wildlife is as varied as the scenery. Probably best known for its bears, Glacier is home to many of the large predators including gray wolf, wolverine, mountain lion, and lynx. Healthy populations of mule deer and elk take advantage of the forests and grasslands, while bighorn sheep and mountain goats take over the higher elevations. Probably the two best places to see mountain goats in the park are Logans Pass on the Going to the Sun road and Goat Lick on the south side of the park. But you should be on the lookout for wildlife anywhere in the park. Glacier National Park is unique in so many ways. Besides all the scenery and wildlife, there are miles of hiking trails to explore and beautiful, historic lodges to rest your weary feet and refresh your soul. And if you need even more to explore, consider crossing the border to visit Glaciers sister park, Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada. The two great parks combine to make up the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, the first of its kind in the world and a designated World Heritage Site. If you choose to visit Canada, make sure to take your passport and be aware that the Waterton park entrance fee is not covered by any US National Park pass. Like most National Parks, July and August are the favorite times to visit, particularly for traveling the Going to the Sun road, which is only open July - September. However, Glacier National Park is open year round and there is always plenty to see and do.

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Camera in the Wild Fall 2012 25

Moving in Place
Bill Jordan
billjordan@darkness-to-light.com

August morning to have ample water flowing. When conditions permit, I like to get into the creeks and small rivers I shoot focusing in on particular areas that attract my eye. Hip boots, a strong tripod, and a hiking pole are some of the items allowing me to navigate where I cant see the bottom under my feet. A recent downpour wet down the rocks in this little stream highlighting their varied texture and multiple colors. A close crop with my 200mm lens isolated this little waterfall. The fluid motion of the water rendered to soft chiffon via a half second shutter speed contrasts the static, multicolored rocks. When I can slow down my motion to half-second intervals, the texture of my life becomes both more apparent and more easily defined. When my life is a blur, meaning diminishes. River Road, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, is purported to be one of the most scenic byways in the country. A light breeze across the water blends this fall reflection into a pastel painting. The slightest movement of an images subject can alter it dramatically; an equally small movement of the camera effects a similar change. Would the billowy water be as prominent had I tilted my camera up slightly to include the trees reflected on the surface? Reflections without a subject stretch the mind to finish the combination, so the viewer is left to complete the scene with his or her own meaning. This obscure section of the Middle Prong cascades freely over these sturdy rocks fifty yards upstream from Lynn Camp Prong Falls. The rigidity of the rock is highlighted by the rhythm of the water flowing over, under, around, and through these crevices continually shaped and molded over time. As the years pass, what shapes and molds me? The waters restless spirit contrasts the dark, motionless boulders. Captured together they speak to a gentle serenity so often absent from my harried life. Sometimes Im the water, sometimes the rock, and often the green leaves swaying gently above just watching. Does that mean Im just moving in place?

s everyone in my workshop was properly setup and appropriately positioned, I took a moment to capture the sun breaking the horizon pouring warm light throughout Culpepper County. The twisted, knurled tree, between me and the fiery orange orb, created a fascinating Shenandoah silhouette. However, as the sun rose and the wind increased, I did as I instruct my students to do I turned to look in the opposite direction. To my delight, a bank of trees across the road, previously dark and unappealing in the predawn light, was being whipped in all directions by a swirling wind gust. A multifaceted pattern of varied fall color was changing moment to moment. One quarter of a second at f/22 captured the feeling of motion so foreign to the static medium of photography, and yet, ever present in my own life. I spend a great deal of time, effort, and expense trying to still my camera during exposures sturdy tripod, secure ball head, shutter release cable, mirror lockup, etc. capturing brief moments of tranquility in a world of perpetual motion. However, there are times I wish to paint the rhythmic patterns of my fluid environment. This image of oscillating fall foliage speaks to the often-chaotic nature of life: frantic motion in all directions painting a mosaic of meaning yet to be defined. Does not art mirror life? Does my perpetual movement produce meaning or merely mask my purpose? Hiking down into White Oak Canyon from Skyline Drive is most rewarding after a heavy rain, so I was fortunate this

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Camera in the Wild Fall 2012 27

Steady Cash
steadycash@mac.com

ithout question, fall is my favorite photo season of the year. And, it has faithfully appeared again with an early start. Here are a few tips that I have picked up over a whole bunch of falls:

The Season of Gorgeous Color


W
of details as I drive through a territory so that I can snag shots that are somewhat indigenous to an area. Look for reflections in water. Nothing is quite as beautiful as fall colors reflected in mountain lakes, rivers, or streams. Pick the bright, warm colors like red, yellow, and orange for the best effects, and shoot away. Avoid using a polarizing filter for shots like these because that filter is designed to eliminate reflections at certain angles to the subject. Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. One of these images lets you know that it is a fall photograph because it has yellow leaves on the ground with a tree trunk at its left edge. Enough said. Get up early for the best images. One shot opposite was taken just after sunrise at Julian Price Lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, NC. The difference between the water temperature and the air temperature created a layer of fog right on the surface of the water. The brilliant red tree coupled with the fog layer combined for a good shot.
Camera in the Wild Fall 2012 29

Start shooting early in the season. One photo opposite is of a cabin that is just off the edge of the Blue Ridge Parkway at the southern entrance to E. B. Jerrfries Park at about milepost 278. I happened on this gorgeous scene several years ago when I was scouting early for possible great fall locations. It was around October 1, and the tree was in full fall foliage. I have been back to that location every year for at least 5 years and have always been too late for the color. So, no matter when the start of fall color is supposed to be in your area, scout early, and you may be surprised at what you find. Pay attention to the details that reflect the character of the area in which you are shooting. In the North Carolina mountains, there are numerous roadside stands selling jams and jellies, and honey and ciders. All four of those products are an integral part of who mountain folks are. I try to be always aware
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Inspired by National Geographics photos and movies, my husband and I visited Serengeti National Park in Tanzania in July 2012.The Serengeti in July is in the middle of winter and dry season. The temperaturewas mild, ranging from upper 80s to lower 90s. The dirt roads in the national park were dusty and full of game-driving Jeeps. Because water holes mostly dried up in the dry season, animals often gathered near the rivers. Lions hid behind the high grass waiting to ambush zebras and wildebeests coming to drink at the water. Big cats in Serengeti are among the most interesting subjects for all tourists. It was estimated that there were 3500 lions in the national park. However, they still can be hard to find during the day as lions rest for about 20 hours a day, becoming invisible when they lie behind grass, bushes and rocks. Yet they can also occasionally be seen napping by the roadside or even wandering about in the middle of the road, depending on how lucky you are. Lions often roam around with their brothers and sisters. We saw a pride of three lionesses and eight or nine of their cubs hanging together near a river. The sister lionesses we assume thats what they were rubbed faces with each other and cuddled with their babies. What a harmonious family picture! Usually, one or two lionesses wander away to find prey, while the remaining lioness will stay behind to babysit. We also saw two honeymooner lions making love about 50 yards from the road. Interestingly, there was one young male hanging nearby, sleeping about 3050 yards away.We were told that this often happens when two brothers are roaming together. One dominant male gets the priority for mating when there is a female around, while the other stands by, waiting for his turn. It often takes a friendly fight between the brothers to determine which one is the alpha. There are fewer leopards than lions in Serengeti National Park. Unlike lions, leopards are good tree climbers and often resting in trees after hunting.After first feeding on a kill, they often drag the leftovers up into a tree and guard it there. We spotted one mother leopard lying on a tree branch guarding her kill (looking like a gazelle), and in the meantime watching her baby, which was under the tree behind a log.Once in a while, she would climb down the tree to lick and snuggle with her baby. Another interesting kind of cat in the Serengeti is the cheetah. Cheetahs are the sprinters on wide-open flat fields, often running after gazelles. They, also, can become invisible resting in high grass. We fortunately saw two beautiful cheetah brothers resting on a big rock under the morning sun. Unfortunately, due to the space limit, pictures are not shown here. Serengeti National Park is the heaven for nature photography. The best times to visit Tanzania safaris are December - March (for the great migration of wildebeests) and June October (dry season). However, the sky can become featureless during the summer months (winter there) and dust in dry season can be a hazard for the equipment.
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Big Cats in Serengeti National Park Nian Chen


nianchen99@aol.com

Robert Smith

robert@photobiologist.com

frog and toad pictures and found that Ive used lenses from 28 mm long to 600 mm long to create pictures that I like. The most important factor in getting a good frog or toad shot seems to be having a lens combination that will allow you to fill the frame with the critter. Macro lenses work well for this, with lenses in the 90 to 200 mm range being most useful. Using extension tubes or diopters is also a successful way to fill the lens with the subject. A flash, preferably with a bracket to hold it off-camera, is handy for providing supplemental fill lighting for daylight shots and is almost a necessity for shooting nocturnal frogs and toads. The most important piece of equipment for easily and successfully shooting frogs and toads is a wrangler or a shooting partner who will help you pose and keep up with the frog or toad as you attempt to photograph it. Just like photographing any animal, it is important to minimize stressing the subject. It is also important to minimize trampling vegetation and displacing cover and other important habitat elements for the frogs, toads, and other wildlife that will continue to live in the area.

Red-eyed Treefrog

Fire-bellied toad

Frog & Toad Photography


ven though frogs and toads are found throughout North and South Carolina, they are often overlooked as wildlife photography subjects. Frogs and toads are in the order Anura and collectively referred to by herpetologists as anurans. There are 29 native anurans in North Carolina and 30 native anurans in South Carolina. It is highly probable that there is an exotic frog, the greenhouse frog, that has also become a permanent resident of South Carolina. In addition, there are at least 35 other species of exotic frogs that are kept in captivity in North and South Carolina. When you consider the different color phases and the different life stages from egg to tadpoles in different stages of metamorphosis to adults and even different color morphs of some adults, there are LOTS of potential photo subjects hopping around. Some anurans are easy to find and may be spotted in the same locations time and time again. Some toads, for example, are a quintessential flower bed resident that may spend most of their non-breeding time in a very small area. Other anurans are much more secretive and may spend a large part of their lives underground or leaf litter or up in trees; to make them even harder to find, they may only come out at night.
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Copes Gray Treefrog calling from a limb

The toads and frogs that have very large eyes are a photographic favorite. Many of these anurans with larger eyes, including most treefrogs and spadefoot toads, are mainly nocturnal. The stereotypical frog shot is a frog perched on a bed of soft moss, but a more attractive shot may be made by pairing the frog or toad with an attractive habitat component like a flower, plant, or mushroom that the frog might be associated with in its native habitat. If the frog or toad can be captured calling, in amplexus, eating, hopping, or some other natural activity, it may make an even better subject. One key factor for capturing appealing anuran images is selecting an appealing point-of-view. This usually means shooting from at or below eye level. For a treefrog up in a tree, this may not be much of a problem, but for a toad on the ground, this can mean lying flat on the ground, sometimes in rather muddy conditions. Obviously a tripod or other support that allows to get very close to the ground is a real asset. If youve got a lens to take flower pictures, then you have a lens to take frog and toad pictures. Ive looked back through my
Camera in the Wild Fall 2012 33

Carolinas Nature Photographers Association Post Office Box 97323 Raleigh, North Carolina 27624-7323 www.cnpa.org

Photographic Memory
When were asked to critique a photograph Its a task for our subconscious. Our awesome brains begin at once To compare it to the multiplied millions Of photos to which we have been exposed, Synaptic sparks bring up, by category, The subliminal impression of what We consider to be a good photograph And apply that Platonic ideal to the Image at hand. Terrifying brains! We like to think our consciousness Is the CEO in charge of evaluation As it applies principles of Sharpness, Brightness,Warmth and Rule of Thirds. But we are not solely responsible Beneath the surface our brains plunder The treasure cave of photographic memory. Our mind bows low before the Mind Who made our mind in His image.

Photopoetics by Bob Williams

Maidenhair Falls near Brevard NC

bobwilliams@sc.rr.com

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